Local High Desert Resident Tamara Alaniz Named General Manager of Twentynine Palms Water District

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Positive. High Desert resident and leader Tamara Alaniz, center, will join a growing minority of women at top posts in public agencies. Below, Alaniz is shown around her peers and community members. Photos courtesy Tamara Alaniz.

By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victor Valley) Longtime resident of the High Desert Tamara Alaniz was named as the new General Manager for the Twentynine Palms Water District, with her tenure starting this month. A young leader in the High Desert, Alaniz leaves behind quite the legacy in the community as she moves towards the future.

Alaniz spoke to High Desert Daily on what her new position as General Manager entails, “The General Manager serves as the Chief Administrative and Personnel Officer for the District. My primary responsibilities include: providing advice and consultation to a five-member board on the development of District policies and programs; oversight of the budget and finance process; and, facilitation of policies and programs with employees, the community, public and other governmental agencies.”

Born in Fontana, CA and raised in Winston, Oregon and Phelan, California, Alaniz has been a leader in the High Desert community for some time, as she was most recently the Program Manager for the Mojave Water Agency since 2008. Graduating from Serrano High School with honors in 1993, Alaniz would move on to obtaining her Bachelors in Environmental Studies in 2004 as well as her Masters in Public Administration with an Emphasis on Water Resource Management in 2006. She is also a William R. Gianelli California Water Leader for the Class of 2010, which is a program that identifies up and coming community leaders and educates them about various water issues.

“As a young female leader in the High Desert, I will continue to provide an example for other young women to show them that they can succeed, being confident that their contributions really matter,” Alaniz stated via email. “You can hear me frequently telling young ladies how important their skills, knowledge and abilities are to our community and how much they are needed here. We lose many young people from our region because they never felt like they were contributing to this community – and they are! I was one of those young women, attending high school in Phelan and growing up in the desert. Now I find opportunities to give back to those girls and young women who may have never seen a woman in a leadership role.”

As Program Manager for the Mojave Water Agency, Alaniz promoted water conservation, making the working relationship with the public a top priority, “My work at MWA shows how important it is for water agencies to work directly with the public to educate and inform us all on the critical business of a sustainable desert water supply. Twentynine Palms relies solely on groundwater supplies without any imported supply, so public participation in protecting groundwater is of the utmost importance for long-term water quality in our eastern high desert areas.”

Michael Stevens, Former Community Liaison Officer the Mojave Water Agency, commented on Alaniz’s new position in Twentynine Palms, “I’m happy for Tamara as she embarks on this new endeavor being General Manager. It will no doubt challenge her knowledge and skills but she is a very bright and energetic young lady who’s not afraid of new challenges. Because of her confidence and determination, she made MWA’s Water Conservation Incentive Program a model throughout the state. It’s that same kind of confidence and determination that will help her successfully make this new transition.”

Violette Roberts, Community Relations & Education Manager at the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, also spoke to High Desert Daily via email regarding Alaniz’s new endeavor, as she has known Alaniz since 1999 and is well aware of the impact she has had in the community, “I also know Tamara well through her extensive work in the community as the public face of the MWA for the past five years. Tamara’s knowledge of High Desert water issues are legendary, as is her passion for her community and for the environment. She is a thoughtful, think-outside-the box leader who is always ready to work in the trenches to broker solutions, which benefit the community she serves. Over the years’, Tamara’s remarkable energy, work ethic, knowledge and coalition-building skills have earned her the respect of her peers throughout the High Desert. The Victor Valley’s loss is definitely 29 Palms gain.”

Alaniz is set to begin her tenure with Twentynine Palms on March 11, 2013.

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